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  • thebigreveal2018

The Heart of the Wood.

A teenage girl and her younger brother go on an epic and magical underground quest to fight for the life of their grandfather and the life of the planet.

Students Kyle, Lauren, Freya, Bailey, James and Dylan from Warden House Primary School have been working with writer Martin Riley and composer David Burridge on a new Community Music and Dance Drama commissioned by The Big Reveal Charity and supported by the Arts Council England and Folkestone School for Girls.

Following on from “The Burning of the Boats” which has just had a highly acclaimed revival, and “The Weight”, which was performed by the World Champion Cory Band, local actors and young band players in 2015, this new project was initiated by Betteshanger Park who arranged interviews for Martin Riley and David Burridge with Jim Davies and ex Miners from Betteshanger and Snowdown Collieries. Their humorous and heartfelt recollections inspired “The Heart of The Wood” which is a contemporary drama about an ex-miner called Harry Woodman and his family.

“Woody”, Megan and Jake’s much-loved granddad, hasn’t been the same since he lost his best mate from his days at the colliery. He doesn’t seem to have time for them anymore but their mum explains that “His heart is still in the pit.” Little Jake takes everything literally so, when Woody’s life is in danger, he runs off to rescue it from the long-closed colliery. When his teenage sister tries to fetch him home, she too becomes involved in the adventure.

Their quest takes them deep underground into the abandoned mine where they meet “The Everlasting Late Shift” and travel through time, beyond the history of the pit and human civilisation, to the Carboniferous, when the giant fern forests grew that centuries later would become coal. On the way they travel on an underground railway and river, battle with Mutant Rats and Banachek, the dark spirit that haunts the mine, get caught up in a grudge fight between T. Rex and Spinosaurus and have to give up possessions that are most precious to them to save their granddad - and begin the battle for the life of the planet.

This epic adventure will be performed in a unique way with music, song, dance, illustration and storytelling. It will involve three professional actors, Secondary School Choirs, Primary Choirs, Dancers from Folkestone School for Girls and Revelation Strings.

As a prelude to the performances an illustrated book of “The Heart of The Wood” will be published and launched in October with illustrations by children from Warden House Primary School, Aylesham Primary and Folkestone School for Girls, which will also be featured in an art exhibition that will accompany the performances at Folkestone School for Girls on Nov 8th, Dover Town Hall on Nov 9th and Sir Roger Manwood’s School on Nov 10th. For advance ticket bookings contact

Students from Warden House School along with (from L-R) writer Martin Riley, composer David Burridge and Community Curator at Betteshanger Park, Liz Botterill.

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